Beauty Links and Quotes
BY JESSICA GROSS
Once again, I can’t escape beauty: it seems to be eyeing me from everything I read and see, peeking out from nooks and crannies or smacking me right in the face. (And thank God.) Below, some of the best quotes and links on beauty I’ve come across in the past few weeks, from works old and new.
- “I don’t care how old you are. Do something beautiful.” That’s short story master George Saunders in a lovely video on how to tell a story.
- In a remarkable essay for Slate, writer Katy Waldman explores the complicated myths surrounding anorexia, and how her relationship with her anorexic sister fed her own eating disorder: “In the depths of my disorder, I didn’t regard myself as a fragile poet-fairy or believe I could paint with all the colors of the wind. But perhaps the myths of beauty girdling anorexia fed into how I idealized my sister, how I assumed that she presided over aesthetic secrets I’d never understand.”
- From Lorrie Moore’s short story “What Is Seized,” in her 1985 debut collection Self-Help: “Once in a while I went with her, jogging next to her, watching her breasts float up and down beneath her sweatshirt, imitating the way she breathed in and out with quick snorts. Twice we saw dead birds washed up on shore and we stopped to look at their bedraggled carcasses, their eyes already crawling with small black bugs. ‘What is beautiful is seized,’ my mother said. ‘My grandmother used to tell me that.'”
- In an episode of the radio program On Being, poet Paul Muldoon reflects on the relationship between poetry and beauty/ugliness: “There’s a little bit of a problem, though, which is, in the popular imagination, poetry is all salve. It’s all beauty, things of beauty, beauty in the world. And unfortunately for those who hold that position, if one actually looks at poetry, one realizes that, more often than not, it’s a representation of ugliness, of the difficulties of the world.”
- “The half-circle of blinding turquoise ocean is this love’s primal scene. That this blue exists makes my life a remarkable one, just to have seen it. To have seen such beautiful things. To find oneself placed in their midst. Choiceless.” That’s Maggie Nelson in Bluets.
For the last edition of beauty miscellany, see here.
Image of street art photographed by Martin Wegmann in Portugal.